101 Series: What is a Meme?
Have you heard the word meme? If you have, you might not actually know what it means. If you haven’t odds are that you’ve experienced a meme. In fact, it’s a near certainty. The term “meme” was originally coined by Richard Dawkins, and was defined as an idea or element of social behavior passed on through generations in a culture, especially by imitation. Here, we’re talking about internet memes, which are credited as Ideas shared across the web.
A meme doesn’t necessarily have to be a video or an image, but generally is. The concept is so popular that entire businesses have been built from it. One reason that memes are so interesting to marketing and communications professionals is that they spread rapidly, get people talking (generating buzz)…and sometimes don’t even make any sense. Here are some examples of popular memes:
- LolCats; which have been featured on SNL among other places
- Friday, the song by Rebecca Black, was viewed millions of times and even covered on Glee
- Charlie Sheen himself became a meme (with the help of the auto-tuned Winning video)
- Ridiculously photogenic guy; which simply was a picture of a marathon runner
And have you ever thought you were clicking on an important link, only to end up here?
Have you ever seen any of the examples above? That’s a meme. In fact, memes in general are very useful for digital snacking. Now that you know what a meme is, can you think of a particular one that stood out to you for some reason?